Treatment of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia with individually adjusted heparin dosing in dogs

S. E. Helmond, D. J. Polzin, P. J. Armstrong, M. Finke, S. A. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


Background: A major cause of death in dogs with immune-mediated hemolytic anemia (IMHA) is thromboembolism. Previous studies suggest unfractionated heparin (UH) is not effective in preventing thromboembolism in IMHA; however, subtherapeutic dosing could explain the seeming lack of efficacy. Hypothesis: Providing therapeutic plasma concentration of UH by individually adjusting doses based on antifactor Xa activity would improve survival in IMHA. Animals: Fifteen dogs with primary IMHA. Methods: Randomized, prospective, controlled clinical trial. Dogs received standardized therapy for IMHA and either constant dose (CD) (150 U/kg SC) (n = 7) or individually adjusted dose (IAD) (n = 8) UH, monitored via an anti-Xa chromogenic assay, adjusted according to a nomogram. UH was administered every 6 hours until day 7, and every 8 hours thereafter. UH dose was adjusted daily in IAD dogs until day 7, weekly until day 28, then tapered over 1 week. Dogs were monitored for 180 days. Results: At day 180, 7 dogs in the IAD group and 1 in the CD group were alive (P = 01). Median survival time for the IAD group was >180 days, and 68 days for the CD group. Thromboembolic events occurred in 5 dogs in the CD group and 2 dogs in the IAD group. Doses of UH between 150 and 566 U/kg achieved therapeutic anti-Xa activity (0.35-0.7 U/mL). Conclusions and Clinical Importance: This study suggests that IAD UH therapy using anti-Xa monitoring reduced case fatality rate in dogs with IMHA when compared with dogs receiving fixed low dose UH therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)597-605
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of veterinary internal medicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2010


  • Anti-Xa
  • Survival
  • Thromboembolism
  • Thrombosis


Dive into the research topics of 'Treatment of immune-mediated hemolytic anemia with individually adjusted heparin dosing in dogs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this